The Pashupati Seal of Mohenjo-Daro

- January 18, 2021

By Shivam Pathania Illustration: Shivam Pathania The Indus Valley civilization is an enigma. Since its discovery, many historians have been trying to study the life of the ancient cities’ dwellers through the historic monuments and the ancient relics. The Pashupati seal, found during the excavation of the ancient city of Mohenjo-Daro in Indus valley is one such relic, with many different and contradicting interpretations by different historians that shed a light on the religious practices of the civilization. The small relic is a big piece to solve the ancient puzzle, that is Indus Valley civilization. The tiny seal measures 3.56 cm by 3.53 cm, with a thickness of 0.76 cm and is made out of soapstone or steatite. The seal was uncovered in 1928-1929 and is considered to be made during 2350-2000 BCE. The prominent figure in the seal is the man with the horned headdress, which is unusual as most Indus Valley seals show animals as the central figure in their seals instead of a human being. The man is seated on a raised platform in a yogic position and he is depicted to have three long faces with pointed noses. His arms are adorned with numerous bangles, from his wrist and all the way to his shoulder and his entire torso is covered in necklaces. He also has a belt decorated with tassels at his waistline. The seal depicts various wild animals around the seated figure, most of which are herbivores. A rhinoceros, an elephant, a buffalo and a tiger are shown in the seal, where the tiger seems to...

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